Being a mom is difficult to express in words.
“Have a kid,” they said.
“It will be fun!” they said.
And while “they” were right, being a mom is also the hardest job I’ve ever had.
Here are the five hardest things I’ve discovered about being a mom.
There is no handbook for motherhood.
Without a handbook, we’re going to get things wrong.
I try to be as consistent as I can. But sometimes, I just have to fly by the seat of my pants.
And my older kids will tell you that I was definitely stricter with them than I am with the younger ones.
Maybe it’s because I’ve already done it once before. And by the time I got to the younger ones, I realized they’re not as breakable as I once thought they were.
Maybe it’s because I’m tired—which sounds horrible but is probably more true than I’d like it to be.
Or maybe it’s because the older I get, the more I realize it’s important to choose my battles and keep my focus on those things that are most important.
With six kids, you realize fairly quickly what works and what doesn’t. And when something doesn’t work, the best thing you can do for yourself is to let go and just keep moving forward to the next thing.
My older kids will probably say they were guinea pigs for many of the things I tried and failed at. But even then, they’re turning out to be pretty great adults.
Even without a handbook, we need to give ourselves credit for the good we have been in the lives of our children.
Because in reality, being a mom without a handbook may make things hard.
But it also gives us the freedom and flexibility to get some of the important things right.
Each child is so different from the next.
This is something we all know but I feel I need to say it out loud and address it.
Because even though we know that no two kids are the same, we try to put the same rules, the same restrictions, and the same expectations on each child as if they all fit into the same box.
Most of society would believe this is what is right and fair.
But the reality is that if you try to put all your kids into the same box, you are destined to fail. It’s impossible and it doesn’t work that way.
Fair isn’t everyone getting the same—it’s everyone getting what they need.
It’s been a great experience for me to see the difference between nature versus nurture.
Even when I feel that the nurture part is winning out, most of the time it’s really not.
After all, the ultimate goal is to raise good humans.
And as long as we are doing our best to make sure each child is getting what they need, we are doing it right.
As a mom, I have to relearn what I learned in middle school.
It’s amazing how much I’ve forgotten from when I was a kid, especially when it comes to academics.
Don’t get me wrong, I can do the basics, but everything is so different now.
Instead of just doing math one way, it seems like there are five different ways to do the same math problem, and my kid is expected to know all five. In my day, I was happy just knowing the one way.
I find myself watching every video I can find to figure out how to do the math so that I can help my kids.
In all honestly, though, they should be the ones watching the videos, and afterward, they could probably teach me. I mean, I sucked at calculus the first time I took it. And it’s definitely not something I feel capable of relearning at this point in my life.
Still, even though being a mom means going back to my middle school and high school days and relearning everything I’ve forgotten, I’m willing to do it.
Because being a mom is also about learning the important lessons so we can better teach them to our children.
Being a mom makes me question my own abilities.
One of the hardest things for me as a mom is that I am constantly questioning myself.
I have six kids, and you would think that I would be pretty solid in my parenting skills. But I’m just not.
It’s not easy raising kids. I’m always asking myself the hard questions:
“Did I make the right decision?”
“Should I have done something differently?”
“If we would have done this or that when our child was three, maybe they would have been more able to accomplish this or that now.”
There are so many things to feel guilty about—not just as a mother, but as a parent in general.
Any time a situation comes up, we wonder if we did it right and we feel guilty if there is even a possibility that it could have gone differently.
We’re constantly questioning how we’re doing things because everyone does it differently. And because there is no handbook, we have no idea which way is right.
Being a mother is a constant process of trying new things and then making adjustments.
But in everything we do as parents, all we can do is just do our best.
Your best is enough.
As a mom, I am in a constant state of worry.
I’m not talking about a debilitating worry—I can still get my work done.
But as a mom, the job never really ends.
My oldest son is 25 and I still worry and stress and think about all the mom things I did when he was little.
I worry that when my kids first learn to drive, they’ll come home safely. Even when they know how to drive I worry for their safety and just want them to make it back home to me.
I worry that they didn’t study enough for their math test. Or that they are going to get their heart broken by their girlfriend or their boyfriend.
I worry that they’re going to get hurt physically because, with six kids, it happens all the time. Like when my son fell into a bed of oysters and sliced his foot open, requiring surgery. Or when another son was hit in the head with a water gun and had to have stitches in his forehead.
Worry is a constant part of being a mom.
But I worry because I love them. And that love is something I treasure.
Being a mom is hard. But in the end, all the hard is worth it.
Motherhood is a truly amazing experience, and I wouldn’t want to live my life any other way.